Shadow of the Giant

Orson Scott Card published his first short story, “Ender’s Game,” in 1977. He later expanded the story into a Hugo and Nebula Award winning novel and turned his attention to sequels. Now, twenty-eight years after “Ender’s Game” first appeared, Card has published the eighth novel about Ender and his companions, Shadow of the Giant.

The Ender books all follow a group of very gifted children who were sent at an extremely young age to an orbiting Battle School and trained for military command, in hopes they would find a way to defeat mankind’s powerful alien enemies the Buggers. Ender Wiggin, Battle School’s top student, was the star of the first four novels in the series. The four subsequent novels have focused on Bean, a.k.a Julian Delphiki, Ender’s friend and lieutenant at Battle School.

An excellent review by Steven H Silver does full justice to Card’s book. I enjoyed the audio cds far more than I might have enjoyed the book, because while the story zips about from Brazil to Rotterdam to Damascus to Hyderabad, it’s not driven by action, but long speeches upon the condition of the world, and the interplay of forces between the superpowers headed by the heroes of Ender’s Jeesh. 

A great deal unfolds as a slow-boiling wrestling match amongst competing interests. Bean and Petra are desperate to recover their brood of kidnapped in vitro fetuses. Caliph Alai, reluctant leader of all Islam, hopes beyond hope to discover a way to rescue intolerant Islam from itself. The living Hindu goddess Virlomi, follows in the footsteps of Gandhi to liberate her nation. The space-bound International Fleet, forbidden to interfere in Earthly affairs, is nonetheless pursuing a long-view strategy aimed at guaranteeing the survival of the human race and finding happiness for their Battle School children.

Above it all is Peter, the much-misunderstood Hegemon, hoping to find a way to grow humanity beyond the need for war. The novel is vividly rendered by a cast of a half dozen talented readers.

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4 Responses to “Shadow of the Giant”

  1. Interesting, I learnt something about Orson Card, and I must confess to a complete ignorance of him or his writings.
    A mutlicultural flavor to the story too. 🙂
    Thanks for the review.

  2. finished “love in the time of cholera” by gabriel garcia marquez. absolutely divine! recommending it to anyone who (that? who? god! grammar!!) cares…

    and if anyone has read it, i would love to know what they thought…

    nocturne, make that your next.

  3. @Sanjay: if you’re ever planning to read Card, then start with Ender’s Game. Most SF is multi-cultural, but this one stands out [outstandingly] because the diplomatic relations are not so much fiction as fact – this is not a world of the future – it is the world as it could well be tomorrow.

  4. @Shrey: okey dokey, i grabbed me a copy of Love in the Times of Cholera, but my reading list is to be seen to be believed. God knows how much ui’ll end up paying in fines this time! What’s to think, baby? Marquez wrote the greatest books ever to be written in the history of literature, or so say those in the know. 🙂

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